Australia: Severe disturbances at Serco managed Detention Centres, including another suicide
Parts of the main Christmas Island detention centre burnt as protests by 250 asylum seekers turned violent last night. Australian Federal Police have taken over control of the Christmas Island detention centre, an immigration spokesman said. The Christmas Island fire brigade was called to respond last night but, because of safety concerns for officers, did not work inside the detention centre perimeter fence and the fire was allowed to burn out, the spokesman said.
The Australian Refugee Council has called for an inquiry into the use of force against peaceful protesters at Christmas Island Detention Centre. Police have confirmed they used teargas and synthetic bullets to control protesters after riots broke out at the centre over the past few days.
Ian Rintoul from the Australian Refugee Action Coalition says the situation only turned violent when authorities tried to remove detainees who organised an earlier break out. “There was no protest inside the detention centre on Sunday night . . . when they decided they were going to have the snatch and grab raid to try and remove the ringleaders,” he said.
“The responsibility for what happened on Sunday night is with [private security company] Serco, with the Federal Police and with the Government.”
At the Scherger Detention Centre in far north Queensland they’ve launched a coronial investigation into the apparent suicide of a 20-year-old Afghan man. The Human Rights Commission says the incidents add strength to calls for an end to mandatory detention.